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Death to ‘content marketing’

Death to ‘content marketing’

The marketing world is full of terrible jargon, from the somehow-still-pervasive “industry-leading” and “best in class” that peppers one-sheets and press releases to the way that people describe themselves on LinkedIn. Are you seriously an “innovative, effective, driven strategic expert”? I think not.

Today iMedia called out something else that needs to be changed from jargon to real-life language: CONTENT MARKETING. Yes, that’s right. Our lifeblood. They make a good point:

Normal people don’t talk like this. Nobody says, “I’m watching the coolest YouTube content right now.” But that’s what it’s called. And I know, I know, the new Google algorithm favors content. But it needs to die, because making good content is hard work, and getting people to see it and share it is even harder work.

[Ed note: I removed the exclamation point on the end of that paragraph, because I am on a vendetta against all exclamation points. More on that in another post.]

A related term that drives them batty, too, is “consume.” People don’t consume content like a bag of Garlic Parmesan Pretzel Crisps. It just became the catch-all phrase when we realized that you can’t just use “read” because the content world had expanded far beyond text articles and started including videos, infographics, webinars, and other types of interactive experiences that engage more than just the reading mind.

Dying by consumption is a real threat.

Dying by consumption is a real threat.

So are there better terms than content and consume? Maybe, maybe not. But something does need to change. Probably right around the same time that we find a new phrase for “brand storytelling.” As told by the author, who is from the agency Supercool Creative in LA:

Pictures are stories. Memes are stories. Videos are stories. Movies with product placement are stories. Billboards are stories. Stories that were carefully placed by the PR team are stories. Bumper stickers are stories. I can tell more about someone from their bumper sticker than I can from a one-hour drunken conversation at a marketing convention.

That’s called branded entertainment, and everyone sees through it anyway. If the story’s good enough, they don’t care that you’re trying to sell them something.

And nobody gives a crap whether your company was founded by a one-legged farmer in 1806, a 17-year-old with a car battery and a Commodore 64, or a bunch of Stanford students huddled around an iPad at Starbucks.